HALIFAX – A former medical student convicted of murder has won a different kind of court victory: He has been awarded nearly $700 after accusing a former roommate of stealing his sneakers and homemade wine from their Halifax apartment.William Sandeson is serving a life sentence after a jury convicted him of the first-degree murder of 22-year-old Taylor Samson during a drug deal.“The highly-publicized trial was in 2017. That conviction is under appeal by (Sandeson). All of this is well known to many observers in Halifax,” Nova Scotia small claims court adjudicator Eric Slone wrote in a written decision released Tuesday.“Less well known is the fact that (Sandeson) was an avid collector of shoes, specifically sneakers, and that he made his own wine in his spare time.”The decision said Sandeson was living with Dylan Zinck-Selig in August 2015 when the Dalhousie University student was arrested.Their apartment was seized by police, and the ruling said Zinck-Selig was given limited access to retrieve essential items during the forensic investigation.Afterwards, Sandeson claimed 18 of his 28 pairs of shoes were missing when his family went to collect his belongings. Also missing were approximately 40 bottles of homemade wine and between five and 10 bottles of liquor, he alleged.“These shoeboxes can be seen on the short video made by the police forensic unit when they first entered the apartment with a search warrant, looking for evidence in connection with the alleged murder,” Slone said, noting that many of the shoes were new and most were stored in shoeboxes in his closet.Sandeson alleged that his former roommate took those items, which were valued at approximately $2,500.The decision said Zinck-Selig admitted to taking two pairs of sneakers and four bottles of wine, but not all of the items. He testified most of Sandeson’s shoes wouldn’t have fit him, as they do not wear the same size, but the two pairs he did take were the right size.“(Zinck-Selig) says he felt entitled to take these things as partial compensation for the fact that some of his stuff had been destroyed by the police or forensic personnel in their search of the premises,” wrote Slone in the decision rendered April 17.“The main item that he referred to was a beanbag chair that had been split open with the result that the beans were piled all over the floor, to the extent that many small items were literally buried in beans.”Slone noted Zinck-Selig was not the only person with access to the apartment — the landlord and police also had access — and he therefore determined the former roommate took some, but not all, of the items.“In general terms, I have no problem with (Sandeson’s) credibility. There is nothing inconsistent with his evidence, and his theory holds water to the extent that (Zinck-Selig) is logically someone who was in a position to help himself to the missing items,” said Slone.He noted he doesn’t believe Zinck-Selig had a right to take anything that was not his.“Legally speaking, he did not have a claim against (Sandeson) that entitled him to help himself to compensation. (Zinck-Selig) was a victim of systems beyond anyone’s control. And of all the victims in the larger scenario, he was one of the least impacted,” said Slone.He awarded Sandeson $699.45 for the lost items and “process serving” fees.At the time of his arrest, Sandeson had already completed one year of medical school in the Caribbean, was a track and field athlete, worked two jobs and had a girlfriend. He was due to start medical school at Dalhousie University within a week of the slaying.Sandeson has no chance of parole for 25 years.During his sentencing hearing, Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Joshua Arnold said it was on Aug. 15, 2015, that Samson went to Sandeson’s Halifax apartment to sell nine kilograms of marijuana for $40,000 as part of a prearranged deal.Samson was last seen alive on a video recording captured by Sandeson’s surveillance system that night. There were no images of Samson walking out, the trial heard.Arnold said Sandeson shot Samson while he was sitting at a kitchen table.Crown lawyers had argued Sandeson, motivated by greed, devised a scheme to kill Samson and steal the marijuana to pay off his debts. Arnold said there was no evidence Sandeson had $40,000 cash to pay for the drugs.In his closing arguments, defence lawyer Eugene Tan conceded there was a “violent incident” at the apartment that night, but he said his client had always maintained there was someone else in the apartment.Tan said Sandeson was taking an active role in his own case and was participating in every decision. He said Sandeson took a paralegal course while in prison so he could better understand his case.Follow (at)AlyThomson on Twitter.
OTTAWA – The federal Liberals are looking to push more of the billions they plan to spend on infrastructure in the next decade directly into flood mitigation, hoping to avoid repeats of disasters in Quebec and Ontario this month.Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi said the idea the Liberals will promote to provinces, territories and cities is to agree to spend the money over and above the $2 billion already set aside to help local governments defend against natural disasters like fire and flooding.The move could potentially save the government hundreds of millions annually in disaster relief payments, which are expected to rise over the coming years.In a report last year, the parliamentary budget officer estimated that payments through the disaster financial assistance arrangements could increase to more than $900 million a year over the next five years, including $673 million a year for flooding. Both costs are well above past averages paid out from the fund.Through funding agreements with provinces and territories, Sohi said the government wants “to negotiate language around dedicating resources towards flood mitigation and other disasters.“It’s a concern and we definitely want to have those conversations with provinces and territories.”The push for more disaster funding will be part of what Sohi calls a “green lens” that local, provincial and territorial governments will use on proposed infrastructure projects before they can be approved for federal funding.Sohi said the lens puts the focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions during and after construction, as well as mitigating the impact of severe weather to reduce the cost of disasters on communities.“Not only the human cost and the pain, the anxiety that it causes and the disruption of life for people, but also the economic cost to clean up afterward and the impact on the overall economy. This is part of our broader infrastructure plan.”Sohi made the comments during a roundtable interview this week with The Canadian Press.The green lens will be part of the second phase of the Liberals’ infrastructure plan, which is to dole out $81.2 billion on new, large-scale projects in cities and provinces over the next 10 years.The money will flow only after provinces and territories sign funding agreements with the federal government, which will take months to conclude because of the size and scope of the plan.The Liberals are banking on the infrastructure spending to prod economic growth to help boost federal finances that have been plunged into years of deficits partly because of the infrastructure plan.Federal officials have been wrestling with how to frame the requirements in the upcoming funding agreements to make sure the money spurs more projects, known as incrementality in federal parlance, and not have provinces and cities replace planned spending with federal dollars.Internal government documents show that municipalities in Ontario in particular have pushed the government to recognize their long-term capital plans as meeting the federal requirement for incrementality.A January briefing note to Sohi ahead of a meeting with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario recommended the minister reiterate the government’s position that federal funding should not “have the unintended negative consequences of displacing investment by the provinces or municipalities over time.”The Canadian Press obtained a copy of the document under the Access to Information Act.Sohi said the Liberals may provide some flexibility in the funding to allow for refurbishment projects, rather than new builds.“Under Phase 2, the long-term plan, we will be supporting more new infrastructure. There will be some flexibility to rehabilitate the existing infrastructure, but these will be new plans or plans that they (cities) have in place, but there is no funding attached to it. These will be the new projects that we will fund.”— Follow @jpress on Twitter.
KENORA, Ont. – Foul play is not suspected in the death of an eight-year-old boy who was found in a northwestern Ontario provincial park.Ontario Provincial Police say they were called to Rushing River Provincial Park to investigate reports of a missing person Saturday evening.Investigators say they searched the park with the emergency response team, a K9 unit and the Kenora Marine and Trails unit.The boy, whose name has not been released, was found dead early Sunday.Police say they don’t suspect foul play at this time, but are waiting for Tuesday’s post-mortem examination before officially ruling it out.
GIBSONS, B.C. – Police say a black bear has been put down after it broke into a home and terrified a family in Gibsons, B.C.Sunshine Coast RCMP say Elery Froude was home with her two sons and a family friend on Saturday evening when an adult male bear wandered in through the sliding glass door.The bear roamed through the house, going into most of the rooms and drooling on the dining room table while Froude locked herself in a bedroom with her children.Police say her friend yelled, banged pots and shook chairs at the animal before punching it in the nose, which made the bear retreat outside.The bear then began pawing and chewing at the screen door until police arrived and scared it into the bushes with air horns and other methods.RCMP say conservation officers later put down the bear, which weighed about 115 kilograms, after determining it lacked a fear of humans.
OTTAWA – Oxfam Canada says hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims, who have been fleeing violence in Myanmar in recent weeks, are without shelter and clean water in flooded refugee camps.The international development agency says nearly 480,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh and more than 70 per cent are without adequate shelter, while half have no safe drinking water.It said in a release Wednesday that heavy rains and floods in camps have left people facing extreme hardship, and have slowed down the building of emergency shelters and clean water tanks, and the delivery of aid.Oxfam says is has reached nearly 100,000 people with clean drinking water, emergency toilets, water pumps and food rations and is planning to help more than 200,000 people during the first phase of its response.Oxfam Bangladesh’s humanitarian co-ordinator Paolo Lubrano says most of the families are huddled under sarongs and urgently need help.Due to the volatile and chaotic situation, Oxfam says it is concerned about abuse and exploitation of women and girls.“Women and children are particularly vulnerable, sleeping under open skies, roadsides, and forest areas with little or no protection,” Lubrano said.The head of the U.N.’s migration agency said Wednesday there are increasing reports of sexual violence directed at Rohingya Muslims.Director-general William Lacy Swing of the International Organization for Migration said he was “shocked and concerned” about the reports of sexual and gender-based violence among Rohingya in Bangladesh.IOM said rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, child marriage and other forms of gender-based violence have been identified. It did not specify who was responsible for the violence.An agency statement on Wednesday said IOM doctors have treated dozens of women who experienced “violent sexual assault” since August, but that the known cases likely represent only a “small portion” of actual cases.The military in Myanmar is accused of burning down the homes of Rohingya Muslims, forcing members of the persecuted minority to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh.-with files from The Associated Press
HALIFAX – Nova Scotia’s premier says there’s “room for us to compromise” in his government’s showdown with the province’s teachers union over education reforms.“We have certain objectives, they have certain objectives,” Premier Stephen McNeil said after a meeting Monday with Liette Doucet, president of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union.“We won’t agree on everything but I believe there is definitely room for us to compromise, so I said we would meet again.”Doucet agreed the discussion was positive, in that both sides are willing to continue talking. There was no immediate word on when the next meeting would be.“We want to make changes in the classroom and we want to make sure the changes are positive for our students, said Doucet. “We really need to work together to develop trust with the government and that’s what we are looking to do.”In a vote last week, more than 80 per cent of teachers endorsed strike action to protest the province’s decision to largely endorse reforms contained in a report by consultant Avis Glaze, including the removal of 1,000 principals, vice-principals and supervisors from the union.The Glaze report also recommends eliminating the province’s seven English-language school boards and creating a provincial college of educators to license and regulate the teaching profession.Any strike would be illegal — and teachers could face fines of up to $1,000 a day.McNeil said he met alone with Doucet and discussed point-by-point all of Glaze’s 22 recommendations.McNeil said the government intends to pass legislation this spring based on the Glaze report, but it wouldn’t be introducing a bill when the house reconvenes Tuesday. The premier said he doesn’t know when a bill might come.Doucet wouldn’t say whether teachers would strike if the legislation includes the removal of school administrators from the union.“We have to wait and see what the legislation says,” said Doucet.McNeil said his discussion with Doucet also touched on an upcoming report on classroom inclusion.Classroom composition, and inclusion of students with special needs, was a major issue that was seldom discussed publicly during a 16-month contract dispute that saw teachers walk off the job for a day and stage a protest outside the provincial legislature one year ago.The Liberals eventually passed legislation which imposed a contract and also ended a work-to-rule job action.McNeil said the report would be an opportunity to signal to teachers that the government is serious about providing classroom support.“That’s the report (inclusion) that is important to me,” he said. “Our budget will reflect a commitment to this report even though we haven’t seen the final product.”Monday’s talks followed a meeting Friday between Doucet and Education Minister Zach Churchill.
HALIFAX – A much-anticipated verdict is expected Friday in the multi-million-dollar stock market fraud case stemming from the collapse of Halifax’s Knowledge House e-learning company.Former company president and CEO Daniel Potter and lawyer Blois Colpitts are jointly charged with a series of frauds.Their trial began in November 2015 and heard from 75 witnesses over more than 150 court days, and 184 exhibits were received — including thousands of documents.“Describing this trial as complex and unique would be a gross understatement,” Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Kevin Coady wrote in August 2017 in one of many mid-trial decisions.Knowledge House Inc. was once a high-flying developer of educational software, trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange before collapsing in 2001.The Crown alleges that between January 2000 and September 2001, Potter and Colpitts manipulated the price of the company’s shares.Shares in Knowledge House began trading publicly on the TSE in 1999, and went from a few cents to more than $9 before suddenly collapsing.Coady is expected to hand down a verdict on Friday, as well as a decision in a Charter application brought forward by the defence.Colpitts and Potter were among three people charged in 2011 with conspiracy to commit fraud, fraud affecting the public market and fraud over $5,000, following a seven-year-long RCMP investigation.The third, former National Bank Financial stockbroker Bruce Elliott Clarke, was sentenced in April 2016 to three years in jail after pleading guilty to conspiring to affect Knowledge House’s share price and defrauding a trust fund established by the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America of more than $5,000.In 2015, Nova Scotia’s Court of Appeal ordered National Bank Financial to pay $3 million in punitive damages for the way it dealt with investors who lost money when the technology firm collapsed.Justice Jamie Saunders had said the money was owed to four investors who were affected when the company failed.The judge said National Bank had secured a confidential agreement with the Nova Scotia Securities Commission concerning the role it played overseeing the actions of a broker involved in the stock trades, and once that was revealed, it showed the bank didn’t properly oversee the actions of its broker.Justice Jamie Campbell said at Clarke’s sentencing that he had defrauded a union pension fund of close to $900,000, and that “only a significant period of time in jail is the fit and proper sentence.”Federal Crown prosecutor James Martin described in court at the time how Clarke used three main techniques to elevate the price of Knowledge House shares and spur on buying by investors.He said he used different accounts to continually buy the stock to make sure the price didn’t decrease and, in the process, spent millions to keep the stock price rising. He said Clarke also actively discouraged people from selling their stocks.“This was an incredibly sophisticated fraud,” Martin said. “He spent millions of dollars over the course of 18 months doing what they could to make sure the price of Knowledge House did not fall.”Martin said the fraud amounted to $31 million in total.The case against Colpitts and Potter has faced numerous delays. The pair have made every attempt to fight the fraud allegations. They even sought mistrial and stay of proceedings in July 2017.In a decision rejecting to hear that application, Coady noted the defendants had brought forward a “significant number of motions” throughout the trial.“These motions have consumed lengthy blocks of time and, for the most part, were not particularly successful. Many of these motions produced significant delay without any corresponding benefits to the trial process,” Coady said in a written decision dated July 26, 2017.Six months earlier, Coady had issued yet another decision after concerns were raised by the court about the lengthy proceedings.Before instituting a proposed schedule for the remainder of the trial, Coady noted: “This state of affairs cannot go on forever. The time has come for me to control this process which is presently chewing up massive judicial resources and blocking others from accessing the justice system.”
Seven stories in the news for Friday, April 6———PM TRUDEAU VENTURES INTO OILSANDS TODAYPrime Minister Justin Trudeau will visit the Alberta oilsands today, less than 24 hours after protesters in Vancouver called for him to revoke the approval of the Trans Canada pipeline project. Hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside a Liberal party fundraising dinner to bang pots and chant “Kinder Morgan has got to go.” Trudeau will tour a new Suncor oilsands facility today in Fort McMurray.—LATEST JOBS DATA OUT TODAYStatistics Canada will update the jobs picture for March today. In February, the economy added 15,400 net new jobs to trim the unemployment rate to 5.8 per cent. The February gains were due to a surge in part-time work that offset a decline in full-time positions. The labour force survey also said the gains in February were driven by an increase of 50,300 in public-sector jobs.———N.B. PREMIER SUSPENDS SPEAKER AMID ALLEGATIONSThe Speaker of the New Brunswick legislature has been suspended from the Liberal caucus pending an investigation into allegations of harassment. Premier Brian Gallant announced Chris Collins’ suspension Thursday, saying the allegations against the 55-year-old Speaker were made by a former employee of the legislative assembly.———BUDGET DAY IN PRINCE EDWARD ISLANDThe Prince Edward Island government will table its 2018 budget today amid what one observer says are growing signs of an early provincial election call. Don Desserud, a professor of political science at UPEI, says Premier Wade MacLauchlan may want to call a vote for May or early June while the Island’s economy is relatively strong.———ALBERTA BABY DEATH AND ILLNESS ON FIRST NATION A MYSTERYAn autopsy is scheduled to be performed today on a baby girl who died in a crowded home this week on a First Nation west of Calgary. RCMP are still trying to determine precisely why the child died and 14 other people were taken to hospital from the home. Authorities have said they suffered from influenza-like symptoms. Health Canada also plans to investigate.———EMERGENCY ALERTS COMING TO YOUR CELLPHONEStarting today, Canadians won’t have to be near a television or radio to receive emergency alerts. Life-threatening emergencies will now be broadcast on compatible mobile phones. As of today, the National Public Alerting System — commonly called Alert Ready — will include wireless networks, in addition to traditional broadcast channels. Situations that could prompt an alert include forest fires, terrorist threats or an Amber Alert for a missing child.———SEDIN TWINS BID FAREWELL TO VANCOUVER FANSIt was a storybook ending at Rogers Arena as Daniel and Henrik Sedin said farewell to the hometown crowd. Daniel scored the winning goal in overtime, with an assist from Henrik as the Vancouver Canucks beat Arizona 4-3 last night. It was the Sedins’ final NHL game on home ice. The Swedish twins said Monday they are retiring after playing 17 seasons with the Canucks. Their final game will be Saturday in Edmonton.———ALSO IN THE NEWS TODAY:— Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland meets with U.S. and Mexican trade representative in Washington, D.C.— New Brunswick Southern Railway to enter pleas on 24 charges stemming from the Lac Megantic disaster.— The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls holds hearings in Richmond, B.C.— A woman appears in a Lethbridge, Alta., court, accused of leaving a child in a freezing vehicle while she went drinking.— The Royal Bank will hold its annual meeting in Toronto.
Eight stories in the news for Thursday, June 7———ELECTION DAY IN ONTARIOAfter weeks of attack ads and controversies, Ontarians go to the polls today to elect a new provincial government. With Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne admitting she’s unlikely to be re-elected as premier, the race appeared to be a battle between the NDP and Progressive Conservatives. But after a drama-filled campaign — including a lawsuit made public this week against PC Leader Doug Ford — anything could happen as the race concludes.———TRADE CRISIS A ‘FAMILY QUARREL,’ SAYS U.S. OFFICIALDonald Trump’s top economic adviser has dismissed differences over tariffs as a “family quarrel” amid reports of a testy phone call between the U.S. president and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ahead of this week’s G7 summit. Larry Kudlow played down his country’s trade dispute with Canada, and said he hoped Trump and Trudeau could work through their differences during their face-to-face meeting at the summit, which opens Friday.———KENT HEHR TO STAY IN CAUCUSKent Hehr says he will remain in the federal Liberal caucus, but won’t rejoin the Trudeau cabinet after an investigation into allegations of inappropriate conduct with women. The former veterans and sports and disabilities minister resigned from cabinet in January after a former employee accused him of calling her “yummy” during his time as a member of the Alberta legislature a decade ago. Hehr says he does not recall the encounter with Kristin Raworth, but has nonetheless apologized.———THREE SISTERS AMONG FIVE DEAD IN ALBERTA CRASHTwo First Nations communities in Alberta are grieving the loss of five people in highway crash south of Edmonton on Tuesday. Three sisters — Cheyane Soosay, 22, Dominique Norwest, 19 and Latesha Norwest, 23, were among those killed. They, along with Anthony Swampy, 30 and Terrelle Minde, 22, died when their car and an SUV collided near Millet, Alta. RCMP continue to investigate the cause of the crash.———YOUTH POT STUDY REVEALS DANGERSA 10-year study on cannabis use among Canadian youth reveals some troubling findings. The study examined data from the Victoria Healthy Youth Survey, which followed 662 young people between the ages of 12 and 18 from 2003 to 2013. It shows those who start using pot at a young age and kept using it often during adolescence and beyond were more likely than their peers to have poor health outcomes. They also achieve less occupational and educational success in young adulthood.———DAVID SUZUKI TO RECEIVE HONORARY DEGREEScientist David Suzuki will receive an honorary doctor of science degree today from the University of Alberta after months of criticism. The Edmonton university said in April that the environmentalist and oilsands critic would receive the honour this spring, which prompted a flood of complaints. Suzuki says universities should be the place “to air a range of ideas about the geophysical, social and economic consequences of fossil fuel use.”———GRIFFIN PRIZE TO BE HANDED OUT IN TORONTOLiterary luminaries gather in Toronto tonight as two of the best wordsmiths from home and abroad receive the Griffin Poetry Prize. One Canadian and one international winner will each take home a $65,000 prize at the awards gala. Scholar Billy-Ray Belcourt of the Driftpile Cree Nation in Alberta, Montreal-born dancer and choreographer Aisha Sasha John and interdisciplinary artist and critic Donato Mancini are in the running for the Canadian prize.———WILL THE STANLEY CUP BE AWARDED TONIGHT?The curtain could fall on the NHL season tonight if the Washington Capitals beat the Golden Knights in Las Vegas. The Capitals lead the best-of-7 series 3-1 and are seeking their first Stanley Cup in the franchise’s 43-year history. Washington star Alex Ovechkin is looking to become the first Russian captain to raise the Cup.———ALSO IN THE NEWS TODAY:— Prime Minister Trudeau meets with the presidents of the European Council and the European Commission in La Malbaie, Que.— French President Emmanuel Macron arrives in Montreal to begin his Canadian visit.— A first major protest against the G7 summit will be held in Quebec City.— The Bank of Canada will release its latest financial system review report.— Veterans Affairs Minister Seamus O’Regan will host a roundtable in Ottawa on Veterans homelessness.— Premier Dwight Ball will provide updates on healthcare infrastructure for western Newfoundland.— Companies reporting results today include Stingray Digital Group, Saputo and Dollarama.
TORONTO – A published report suggests the Ontario government is poised to reduce Toronto city council to just over half its current size.The Toronto Star, citing unnamed sources within the Progressive Conservative government, reports that legislation will be introduced “as early as Monday” to reduce the number of council seats to 25 from 47.The report comes on the eve of a deadline for candidates to register for the municipal election on Oct. 22.Premier Doug Ford has scheduled a news conference for Friday morning, just hours before the 2 p.m. deadline.Mayor John Tory will also speak to the media Friday morning to discuss the reported plan. Tory told television station CP24 that he had a “very animated conversation” with Ford Thursday night and would have “much more to say” in what he called a major statement.Tory declined to comment directly on the Star report, saying he wanted to collect his thoughts and choose his words carefully before reacting, but added he is concerned about anything that “affects the wellbeing of the people of the City of Toronto.”Reaction from other politicians was swift, with Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath saying Ford “cooked up a backroom plot to use his new power to meddle in municipal elections.”In her statement, Horwath said Ford wants a smaller number of councillors “to make it easier for him to control Toronto city hall.”Toronto city councillor Joe Mihevic posted a tweet calling the reported Ford plan a “destructive attack on local democracy” while fellow councillor Joe Cressy tweeted that Toronto’s residents “will suffer because of this back of a napkin plan.”Councillor Janet Davis weighed in by calling the reported move “a gross misuse of power” while former Ontario premier Bob Rae labelled it “chaotic and disrespectful.”Once councillor, however, spoke in favour of the reported plan. George Mammoliti told a Toronto TV station that the city needs to start getting its fiscal house in order “and the way to do that is with a smaller city council.”The newspaper also reported that the Ford government will cancel planned elections for regional chair positions in two Greater Toronto Area communities — Peel Region and York Region.Such a move would put a damper on the political redemption hopes of Patrick Brown, whom Ford replaced as leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives.Brown, who stepped down as Tory leader in January amid allegations of sexual misconduct that he denies, had thrown his hat into the ring to become the chair of Peel Region.Horwath said reports that Ford is cancelling those regional elections “are deeply chilling.”Representatives for the Progressive Conservative government did not immediately respond to requests for comment late Thursday.